Immune cell metabolism is dynamically regulated in parallel with the substantial changes in cellular function that accompany immune cell activation. While these changes in metabolism are important for facilitating the increased energetic and biosynthetic demands of activated cells, immune cell metabolism also has direct roles in controlling the functions of immune cells and shaping the immune response. A theme is emerging wherein nutrients, metabolic enzymes, and metabolites can act as an extension of the established immune signal transduction pathways, thereby adding an extra layer of complexity to the regulation of immunity. This Review will outline the metabolic configurations adopted by different immune cell subsets, describe the emerging roles for metabolic enzymes and metabolites in the control of immune cell function, and discuss the therapeutic implications of this emerging immune regulatory axis.
Nadine Assmann, David K. Finlay
RNA is likely to be the most rediscovered macromolecule in biology. Periodically, new non-canonical functions have been ascribed to RNA, such as the ability to act as a catalytic molecule or to work independently from its coding capacity. Recent annotations show that more than half of the transcriptome encodes for RNA molecules lacking coding activity. Here we illustrate how these transcripts affect skeletal muscle differentiation and related disorders. We discuss the most recent scientific discoveries that have led to the identification of the molecular circuitries that are controlled by RNA during the differentiation process and that, when deregulated, lead to pathogenic events. These findings will provide insights that can aid in the development of new therapeutic interventions for muscle diseases.
Monica Ballarino, Mariangela Morlando, Alessandro Fatica, Irene Bozzoni
Neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) were discovered as extracellular strands of decondensed DNA in complex with histones and granule proteins, which were expelled from dying neutrophils to ensnare and kill microbes. NETs are formed during infection in vivo by mechanisms different from those originally described in vitro. Citrullination of histones by peptidyl arginine deiminase 4 (PAD4) is central for NET formation in vivo. NETs may spur formation of autoantibodies and may also serve as scaffolds for thrombosis, thereby providing a link among infection, autoimmunity, and thrombosis. In this review, we present the mechanisms by which NETs are formed and discuss the physiological and pathophysiological consequences of NET formation. We conclude that NETs may be of more importance in autoimmunity and thrombosis than in innate immune defense.
Ole E. Sørensen, Niels Borregaard
Mammalian chromosomes terminate in stretches of repetitive telomeric DNA that act as buffers to avoid loss of essential genetic information during end-replication. A multiprotein complex known as shelterin prevents recognition of telomeric sequences as sites of DNA damage. Telomere erosion contributes to human diseases ranging from BM failure to premature aging syndromes and cancer. The role of shelterin telomere protection is less understood. Mutations in genes encoding the shelterin proteins TRF1-interacting nuclear factor 2 (TIN2) and adrenocortical dysplasia homolog (ACD) were identified in dyskeratosis congenita, a syndrome characterized by somatic stem cell dysfunction in multiple organs leading to BM failure and other pleiotropic manifestations. Here, we introduce the biochemical features and in vivo effects of individual shelterin proteins, discuss shelterin functions in hematopoiesis, and review emerging knowledge implicating the shelterin complex in hematological disorders.
Morgan Jones, Kamlesh Bisht, Sharon A. Savage, Jayakrishnan Nandakumar, Catherine E. Keegan, Ivan Maillard
Although the use of antioxidants for the treatment of cancer and HIV/AIDS has been proposed for decades, new insights gained from redox research have suggested a very different scenario. These new data show that the major cellular antioxidant systems, the thioredoxin (Trx) and glutathione (GSH) systems, actually promote cancer growth and HIV infection, while suppressing an effective immune response. Mechanistically, these systems control both the redox- and NO-based pathways (nitroso-redox homeostasis), which subserve innate and cellular immune defenses. Dual inhibition of the Trx and GSH systems synergistically kills neoplastic cells in vitro and in mice and decreases resistance to anticancer therapy. Similarly, the population of HIV reservoir cells that constitutes the major barrier to a cure for AIDS is exquisitely redox sensitive and could be selectively targeted by Trx and GSH inhibitors. Trx and GSH inhibition may lead to a reprogramming of the immune response, tilting the balance between the immune system and cancer or HIV in favor of the former, allowing elimination of diseased cells. Thus, therapies based on silencing of the Trx and GSH pathways represent a promising approach for the cure of both cancer and AIDS and warrant further investigation.
Moran Benhar, Iart Luca Shytaj, Jonathan S. Stamler, Andrea Savarino
New biomarkers are needed to improve the diagnosis of prostate cancer. Similarly to healthy cells, prostate epithelial cancer cells produce extracellular vesicles (prostasomes) that can be isolated from seminal fluid, urine, and blood. Prostasomes contain ubiquitously expressed and prostate-specific membrane and cytosolic proteins, as well as RNA. Both quantitative and qualitative changes in protein, mRNA, long noncoding RNA, and microRNA composition of extracellular vesicles isolated from prostate cancer patients have been reported. In general, however, the identified extracellular vesicle–associated single-marker molecules or combinations of marker molecules require confirmation in large cohorts of patients to validate their specificity and sensitivity as prostate cancer markers. Complications include variable factors such as prostate manipulation and urine flux, as well as masking by ubiquitously expressed free molecules and extracellular vesicles from tissues other than the prostate. Herein, we propose that the most promising methods include comprehensive combinational screening for (mutant) RNA in prostasomes that are immunoisolated with antibodies targeting prostate-specific epitopes.
Carla Zijlstra, Willem Stoorvogel
Two broad categories of extracellular vesicles (EVs), exosomes and shed microvesicles (sMVs), which differ in size distribution as well as protein and RNA profiles, have been described. EVs are known to play key roles in cell-cell communication, acting proximally as well as systemically. This Review discusses the nature of EV subtypes, strategies for isolating EVs from both cell-culture media and body fluids, and procedures for quantifying EVs. We also discuss proteins selectively enriched in exosomes and sMVs that have the potential for use as markers to discriminate between EV subtypes, as well as various applications of EVs in clinical diagnosis.
Rong Xu, David W. Greening, Hong-Jian Zhu, Nobuhiro Takahashi, Richard J. Simpson
Almost all cell types release extracellular vesicles (EVs), which are derived either from multivesicular bodies or from the plasma membrane. EVs contain a subset of proteins, lipids, and nucleic acids from the cell from which they are derived. EV factors, particularly small RNAs such as miRNAs, likely play important roles in cell-to-cell communication both locally and systemically. Most of the functions associated with EVs are in the regulation of immune responses to pathogens and cancer, as well as in regulating autoimmunity. This Review will focus on the different modes of immune regulation, both direct and indirect, by EVs. The therapeutic utility of EVs for the regulation of immune responses will also be discussed.
Paul D. Robbins, Akaitz Dorronsoro, Cori N. Booker
Exosomes and other extracellular microvesicles (ExMVs) have important functions in intercellular communication and regulation. During the course of infection, these vesicles can convey pathogen molecules that serve as antigens or agonists of innate immune receptors to induce host defense and immunity, or that serve as regulators of host defense and mediators of immune evasion. These molecules may include proteins, nucleic acids, lipids, and carbohydrates. Pathogen molecules may be disseminated by incorporation into vesicles that are created and shed by host cells, or they may be incorporated into vesicles shed from microbial cells. Involvement of ExMVs in the induction of immunity and host defense is widespread among many pathogens, whereas their involvement in immune evasion mechanisms is prominent among pathogens that establish chronic infection and is found in some that cause acute infection. Because of their immunogenicity and enrichment of pathogen molecules, exosomes may also have potential in vaccine preparations and as diagnostic markers. Additionally, the ability of exosomes to deliver molecules to recipient cells raises the possibility of their use for drug/therapy delivery. Thus, ExMVs play a major role in the pathogenesis of infection and provide exciting potential for the development of novel diagnostic and therapeutic approaches.
Jeffrey S. Schorey, Clifford V. Harding
Stroke is one of the leading causes of death and disability worldwide. Stroke recovery is orchestrated by a set of highly interactive processes that involve the neurovascular unit and neural stem cells. Emerging data suggest that exosomes play an important role in intercellular communication by transferring exosomal protein and RNA cargo between source and target cells in the brain. Here, we review these advances and their impact on promoting coupled brain remodeling processes after stroke. The use of exosomes for therapeutic applications in stroke is also highlighted.
Zheng Gang Zhang, Michael Chopp
Extracellular vesicles (EVs, including exosomes) are implicated in many aspects of nervous system development and function, including regulation of synaptic communication, synaptic strength, and nerve regeneration. They mediate the transfer of packets of information in the form of nonsecreted proteins and DNA/RNA protected within a membrane compartment. EVs are essential for the packaging and transport of many cell-fate proteins during development as well as many neurotoxic misfolded proteins during pathogenesis. This form of communication provides another dimension of cellular crosstalk, with the ability to assemble a “kit” of directional instructions made up of different molecular entities and address it to specific recipient cells. This multidimensional form of communication has special significance in the nervous system. How EVs help to orchestrate the wiring of the brain while allowing for plasticity associated with learning and memory and contribute to regeneration and degeneration are all under investigation. Because they carry specific disease-related RNAs and proteins, practical applications of EVs include potential uses as biomarkers and therapeutics. This Review describes our current understanding of EVs and serves as a springboard for future advances, which may reveal new important mechanisms by which EVs in coordinate brain and body function and dysfunction.
Valentina Zappulli, Kristina Pagh Friis, Zachary Fitzpatrick, Casey A. Maguire, Xandra O. Breakefield
Humans circulate quadrillions of exosomes at all times. Exosomes are a class of extracellular vesicles released by all cells, with a size range of 40–150 nm and a lipid bilayer membrane. Exosomes contain DNA, RNA, and proteins. Exosomes likely remove excess and/or unnecessary constituents from the cells, functioning like garbage bags, although their precise physiological role remains unknown. Additionally, exosomes may mediate specific cell-to-cell communication and activate signaling pathways in cells they fuse or interact with. Exosomes are detected in the tumor microenvironment, and emerging evidence suggests that they play a role in facilitating tumorigenesis by regulating angiogenesis, immunity, and metastasis. Circulating exosomes can be used as liquid biopsies and noninvasive biomarkers for early detection, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer patients.
DC-derived exosomes (Dex) are nanometer-sized membrane vesicles that are secreted by the sentinel antigen-presenting cells of the immune system: DCs. Like DCs, the molecular composition of Dex includes surface expression of functional MHC-peptide complexes, costimulatory molecules, and other components that interact with immune cells. Dex have the potential to facilitate immune cell–dependent tumor rejection and have distinct advantages over cell-based immunotherapies involving DCs. Accordingly, Dex-based phase I and II clinical trials have been conducted in advanced malignancies, showing the feasibility and safety of the approach, as well as the propensity of these nanovesicles to mediate T and NK cell–based immune responses in patients. This Review will evaluate the interactions of Dex with immune cells, their clinical progress, and the future of Dex immunotherapy for cancer.
Jonathan M. Pitt, Fabrice André, Sebastian Amigorena, Jean-Charles Soria, Alexander Eggermont, Guido Kroemer, Laurence Zitvogel
Intercellular signaling via extracellular vesicles (EVs) is an underappreciated modality of cell-cell crosstalk that enables cells to convey packages of complex instructions to specific recipient cells. EVs transmit these instructions through their cargoes of multiple proteins, nucleic acids, and specialized lipids, which are derived from their cells of origin and allow for combinatorial effects upon recipient cells. This Review series brings together the recent progress in our understanding of EV signaling in physiological and pathophysiological conditions, highlighting how certain EVs, particularly exosomes, can promote or regulate infections, host immune responses, development, and various diseases — notably cancer. Given the diverse nature of EVs and their abilities to profoundly modulate host cells, this series puts particular emphasis on the clinical applications of EVs as therapeutics and as diagnostic biomarkers.
Jonathan M. Pitt, Guido Kroemer, Laurence Zitvogel
Numerous studies have shown that non-cell-autonomous regulation of cancer cells is an important aspect of tumorigenesis. Cancer cells need to communicate with stromal cells by humoral factors such as VEGF, FGFs, and Wnt in order to survive. Recently, extracellular vesicles (EVs) have also been shown to be involved in cell-cell communication between cancer cells and the surrounding microenvironment and to be important for the development of cancer. In addition, these EVs contain small noncoding RNAs, including microRNAs (miRNAs), which contribute to the malignancy of cancer cells. Here, we provide an overview of current research on EVs, especially miRNAs in EVs. We also propose strategies to treat cancers by targeting EVs around cancer cells.
Nobuyoshi Kosaka, Yusuke Yoshioka, Yu Fujita, Takahiro Ochiya
The need to optimize vaccine potency while minimizing toxicity in healthy recipients has motivated studies of the formulation of vaccines to control how, when, and where antigens and adjuvants encounter immune cells and other cells/tissues following administration. An effective subunit vaccine must traffic to lymph nodes (LNs), activate both the innate and adaptive arms of the immune system, and persist for a sufficient time to promote a mature immune response. Here, we review approaches to tailor these three aspects of vaccine function through optimized formulations. Traditional vaccine adjuvants activate innate immune cells, promote cell-mediated transport of antigen to lymphoid tissues, and promote antigen retention in LNs. Recent studies using nanoparticles and other lymphatic-targeting strategies suggest that direct targeting of antigens and adjuvant compounds to LNs can also enhance vaccine potency without sacrificing safety. The use of formulations to regulate biodistribution and promote antigen and inflammatory cue co-uptake in immune cells may be important for next-generation molecular adjuvants. Finally, strategies to program vaccine kinetics through novel formulation and delivery strategies provide another means to enhance immune responses independent of the choice of adjuvant. These technologies offer the prospect of enhanced efficacy while maintaining high safety profiles necessary for successful vaccines.
Tyson J. Moyer, Andrew C. Zmolek, Darrell J. Irvine
Mitochondria are a distinguishing feature of eukaryotic cells. Best known for their critical function in energy production via oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS), mitochondria are essential for nutrient and oxygen sensing and for the regulation of critical cellular processes, including cell death and inflammation. Such diverse functional roles for organelles that were once thought to be simple may be attributed to their distinct heteroplasmic genome, exclusive maternal lineage of inheritance, and ability to generate signals to communicate with other cellular organelles. Mitochondria are now thought of as one of the cell’s most sophisticated and dynamic responsive sensing systems. Specific signatures of mitochondrial dysfunction that are associated with disease pathogenesis and/or progression are becoming increasingly important. In particular, the centrality of mitochondria in the pathological processes and clinical phenotypes associated with a range of lung diseases is emerging. Understanding the molecular mechanisms regulating the mitochondrial processes of lung cells will help to better define phenotypes and clinical manifestations associated with respiratory disease and to identify potential diagnostic and therapeutic targets.
Suzanne M. Cloonan, Augustine M.K. Choi
Endothelial cells transduce the frictional force from blood flow (fluid shear stress) into biochemical signals that regulate gene expression and cell behavior via specialized mechanisms and pathways. These pathways shape the vascular system during development and during postnatal and adult life to optimize flow to tissues. The same pathways also contribute to atherosclerosis and vascular malformations. This Review covers recent advances in basic mechanisms of flow signaling and the involvement of these mechanisms in vascular physiology, remodeling, and these diseases. We propose that flow sensing pathways that govern normal morphogenesis can contribute to disease under pathological conditions or can be altered to induce disease. Viewing atherosclerosis and vascular malformations as instances of pathological morphogenesis provides a unifying perspective that may aid in developing new therapies.
Nicolas Baeyens, Chirosree Bandyopadhyay, Brian G. Coon, Sanguk Yun, Martin A. Schwartz
Tumor-derived exosomes (TEX) are harbingers of tumor-induced immune suppression: they carry immunosuppressive molecules and factors known to interfere with immune cell functions. By delivering suppressive cargos consisting of proteins similar to those in parent tumor cells to immune cells, TEX directly or indirectly influence the development, maturation, and antitumor activities of immune cells. TEX also deliver genomic DNA, mRNA, and microRNAs to immune cells, thereby reprogramming functions of responder cells to promote tumor progression. TEX carrying tumor-associated antigens can interfere with antitumor immunotherapies. TEX also have the potential to serve as noninvasive biomarkers of tumor progression. In the tumor microenvironment, TEX may be involved in operating numerous signaling pathways responsible for the downregulation of antitumor immunity.
Theresa L. Whiteside
HIV persistence in patients undergoing antiretroviral therapy is a major impediment to the cure of HIV/AIDS. The molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying HIV persistence in vivo have not been fully elucidated. This lack of basic knowledge has hindered progress in this area. The in vivo analysis of HIV persistence and the implementation of curative strategies would benefit from animal models that accurately recapitulate key aspects of the human condition. This Review summarizes the contribution that humanized mouse models of HIV infection have made to the field of HIV cure research. Even though these models have been shown to be highly informative in many specific areas, their great potential to serve as excellent platforms for discovery in HIV pathogenesis and treatment has yet to be fully developed.
J. Victor Garcia
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